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How to prepare: nbn and emergency events

4-minute read

Understand how the nbn® network may operate during an emergency event – plus tips to help you, your community and local businesses to be prepared.

Download Emergency Preparedness Fact Sheets

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At nbn, we understand the important role our network plays in helping to keep people, businesses and communities connected – especially in times of disaster.

As Australia faces drier conditions and a heightened risk of bushfires after several years of rain and flooding, we’re encouraging communities to work together to ensure they are well-prepared in case of emergency.

How nbn prepares for emergencies

Behind the scenes, we’re always working to improve the nbn network’s resiliency and the way we prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergency events.

From rolling out more fibre across the nation, to continuing to invest in Temporary Network Infrastructure to help restore the nbn network quickly and safely when impacted, the way our network performs during times of disaster is always top of mind.

In the last two and a half years, as part of the Federal Government’s Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters program, we’ve installed more than 1000 nbn Disaster Satellite Services across Australia in jurisdictionally nominated emergency management sites and evacuation centres.

And our teams work closely with emergency services and power companies to prepare for potential disasters and ensure we can safely restore affected connectivity as soon as possible.

Our Emergency Management Liaison Officers

Also critical to nbn’s Emergency Management response are our Emergency Management Liaison Officers (EMLOs). Located across Australia, EMLOs play a vital role in keeping nbn connected with agencies involved in Emergency Management year-round and, most importantly, during an emergency event.

nbn Emergency Management Liaison Officers training

Some of nbn's Emergency Management Liaison Officers during training.

To strengthen these vital relationships and to be even better prepared, our EMLOs recently participated in the National EMLO Training Visit program with Telstra’s Emergency Services Liaison Officers (ESLOs), emergency services, government departments, industry and community support agencies across Australia.

The two-day workshop in each state and territory aims to provide an overview of the emergency management activities of nbn and Telstra’s infrastructure division, highlighting how important it is for emergency services, government departments, industry and community support agencies to work together before, during and after emergencies.

This all contributes to bolstering our relationships and coordination, as well as helping nbn deliver for communities in times of need.

How you can prepare for emergencies

The nbn network is designed to withstand as many disruptions as technically possible with resilience built-in – if part of our network is impacted, overall, it can continue to operate. Yet, in emergencies where physical equipment damage occurs to the power or telecommunications infrastructure, communications connectivity may be lost.

It’s also worth noting that, during emergencies, most nbn service disruptions are caused by power blackouts.

During a power outage, equipment connected via the nbn network will not work

During a power outage, equipment connected via the nbn network will not work.

While parts of our network have built-in power back up, major power outages may last longer than the power reserves.

“Our teams work hard to minimise loss of connectivity on the nbn network, yet there are times – such as during bushfire and floods – when customers may need to rely on alternative connectivity,” says Chris Cusack, General Manager, nbn Local at nbn.

“As we all know, communication is never more important than when disaster strikes so it’s crucial to be well-prepared.”

This includes regularly testing residential evacuation and business continuity plans.

It’s also important to understand how certain devices may be affected by power outages. Devices, such as medical alarms, may not always be compatible with the nbn network – including, but not limited to, instances of a power blackout.

Existing copper network

If your premises is located within a Fixed Wireless or Sky Muster® satellite area, you may be able to keep your existing landline phone service active across the copper network. For more information, please speak to your phone and internet provider.

To prepare for an event where you may lose connectivity, follow these tips to help stay as safe and connected as possible:

Stay mobile

Stay mobile

Keep a charged mobile phone and portable mobile battery pack ready to use in a power outage, or if your nbn connection is disrupted in an emergency event. Consider turning off cellular data on unnecessary apps to save battery.

Stay updated

Stay updated

Local radio is a good source of information during an emergency, so include a battery powered radio in your emergency communications kit. Also follow emergency services, including your state Fire and Rescue and Police Services, as well as utility companies and nbn (@NBN_Australia) on social media for updates. 

Back up

Back up

To make sure you can access valuable information and essential documents from anywhere, including insurance policies and financial documents, consider creating a digital back up on a USB or in the cloud.

Be prepared

Be prepared

An investment in alternative communication (using a diverse technology, such as satellite communications) and power options (a generator) could be considered to keep businesses and community groups working. A robust Business Continuity Plan should be developed and tested periodically.

What to expect from nbn during an emergency

During an emergency, our highest priority is maintaining and restoring the nbn network so emergency services and communities can stay connected and safe.

In the event of a disaster, nbn will prioritise restoring services to impacted communities. This will include special consideration of essential services, community infrastructure and business services in any restoration planning.

Innovative equipment

To help keep customers connected during times of disaster and in the aftermath, nbn has invested in an extensive suite of Temporary Network Infrastructure (TNI) and Temporary Emergency Management Solutions (TEMS).

nbn's Network on Wheels deployed in the field due to a bushfire

nbn's Network on Wheels deployed in the field following a bushfire. 

Developed in-house and strategically pre-positioned across the nation, these innovative pieces of equipment keep the power running in the event of an outage or site isolation, or can be rapidly deployed to support communities during the relief and recovery phases of an emergency – either to restore the nbn network or provide temporary internet connectivity to those most impacted by the emergency.

“Temporary Network Infrastructure, like our Hybrid Power Cubes, Multi Tech Trailers and Emergency Response Vehicle, all play an important role in restoring nbn services and keeping customers connected,” says Chris.

“And our Temporary Emergency Management Solutions, requested via jurisdictional emergency management arrangements, help residents evacuated from their homes, and support emergency services as they carry out their vital work.”

To provide temporary access to voice and broadband services for those in the community most affected by outages, nbn may be asked to deploy such equipment to evacuation centres and community hubs.*

nbn’s Temporary Network Infrastructure includes:

  • Hybrid Power Cubes
  • Network on Wheels (NoW) and Wireless on Wheels (WoW)
  • Point of Interconnect on Wheels (PoW)
  • Wireless Mast Trailer
  • Fly Away Kits
  • Multi Tech Trailer
  • Emergency Response Vehicle

’s Temporary Emergency Management Solutions include:

  • nbn Sky Muster® Trucks
  • Fly Away Kits

nbn's Multi Tech Trailer

* Requests are made via jurisdictional emergency management processes to align with the emergency management response.

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